Change is an inevitable part of life. But it’s also an inevitable and often crucial part of the growth of any business. With the innovation of new technologies, businesses thrive on change to gain an edge above other companies. One of the hardest parts of managing major changes within the organisation is the people element. The ADKAR Change Management model offers a way to guide your team through a change process.
While standard change management practices will focus on the steps within the project necessary for the change like – Understand Change, Plan Change, Implement Change and Communicate Change. The ADKAR®methodology focuses more on the people aspect of the change rather than the change itself. It emphasises that successful organisational change occurs only when each person involved and is affected by the change is able to transition successfully.
What is ADKAR Change Mangement Model?
The ADKAR Change Management Model is a simple tool that is used to help the change process and focuses on how we as human beings experience change. People can be resistant to change as it can be hard to accept and uncomfortable and places individuals outside of their comfort zone. The ADKAR models help people understand and accept why change is necessary so it can happen successfully and more efficiently.
ADKAR is an acronym representing the five principles of implementing changes successfully.
The following are the five stages of the ADKAR model:
A – Awareness: Make the team aware of the change happening.
D – Desire: Inspire a desire for change.
K – Knowledge: Educate the team on how to make the change work.
A – Ability: Use team knowledge in the ability to make a change.
R – Reinforcement: Continuously reinforcing new methods to make the change permanent.
When implementing a change it is important to understand that people’s resistance to the change is a natural reaction. The change process can be made more difficult when people don’t understand why the change is even necessary or made without warning. Awareness is always the first step to any change process and requires communication where all the involved parties comprehend the reasons for the proposed changes and are aware of the issues that triggered the initiative. It is important to encourage people to ask questions and make suggestions.
There is a difference between understanding why the change is necessary and wanting the change. The ‘Desire’ step is where you aim to get people excited about the change. When people have a desire for change, then you can expect minimal resistance. Give people reasons to want the change process to succeed.
So you have sold the change to the people and they now are in acceptance. When an organization implements a change or adopts new technology, it is important that employees must learn how to use that technology productively. Training and skills development, therefore, has a direct effect on the outcome of the project.
The Ability stage of the process is where you will eventually see the success of the change process. It is possible that employees may understand the change on a theoretical level and even have the knowledge to make the change, but ultimately cannot demonstrate the required skills and behaviours. . You have to consider your workers’ ability to put knowledge into practice. Hands-on training and oversight can go a long way in making a new change stick and succeed.
The last stage of the process, Reinforcement, is a critical step to ensure the change is sustained. To support the change, organizations must encourage employees and managers to keep talking about the progress of the change, provide lots of feedback, celebrate milestones and continue to share success stories. Sustaining change is a major impediment to the process even when the other areas are successful. If you fail the reinforcement stage then the success of earlier stages is irrelevant.
Why you should use the ADKAR change management process?
A significant reason why the implementation of change will fail within organisations is because of the resistance and lack of buy-in on behalf of team members. With the ADKAR model, you will better understand the human element to the change and you can avoid many of the pitfalls that could typically spell failure. By using the ADKAR model, business leaders have a clear 5-step plan to implement change management effectively.